Statement of CPR Executive Director Matt Shudtz on OSHA's Call for Dialogue on Chemical Exposure

by Erin Kesler | October 09, 2014

Today, OSHA announced that it is seeking new ideas from stakeholders about preventing workplace injuries caused by exposure to harmful chemicals. The agency wants to identify new ways to develop Permissible Exposure Limits (PELs), the basic standards for reducing air contaminants.  

CPR's Executive Director Matthew Shudtz responded to the development:

It’s great that Dr. Michaels is continuing to seek new ways to eliminate or manage chemical hazards in the workplace.  OSHA has been relying on outdated standards for too long. But rulemaking is not the only way to address these hazards.  OSHA needs to use the enforcement tools it has available, especially the General Duty Clause.  With the General Duty Clause, OSHA can cite employers who are lagging behind industry standards for chemical exposure.

Last year, OSHA released new web-based tools to help employers voluntarily limit the exposure of workers to hazardous substances. In a blog Shudtz noted that the agency could use the General Duty Clause within the OSH Act to compel low-road employers to protect workers from harmful chemical exposure. According to the blog:

As OSHA freely admits, the Permissible Exposure Limits (PELs) found in current regulations are out-of-date and inadequately protective. Employers may expose workers to chemicals up to those limits without incurring fines for violating the standard, even though the exposures are patently dangerous. Most were adopted in the early 1970s and were based on scientific research from the 1940s through 1960s. In the late 1980s, the agency undertook an effort ...

Lessons From an Epidemic

by Daniel Farber | October 08, 2014
Ebola’s natural reservoirs are animals, if only because human hosts die to too quickly. Outbreaks tend to occur in locations where changes in landscapes have brought animals and humans into closer contact.  Thus, there is considerable speculation about whether ecological factors might be related to the current outbreak. (See here).  At this point, at least, we don’t really know.  Still, it’s clear that outbreaks of diseases like ebola strengthen the case for forest conservation.  Which is also, obviously good for the environment. ...

SBA Office of Advocacy Continues to Carry ‘Water’ for Big Business

by James Goodwin | October 02, 2014
Apparently undeterred by all the bad press it has received lately, the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Office of Advocacy has cast its controversy-attracting lightning rod ever higher in the air by issuing a feeble comment letter attacking the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) pending rulemaking to define the scope of the Clean Water Act (“Waters of the US rule”).  The letter is just the latest evidence that the SBA Office of Advocacy has no interest in working to advance the unique ...

A Blow to Public Interest Litigation

by Daniel Farber | September 18, 2014
A Texas judge's award of attorney fees is a threat to all public interest groups, liberal or conservative. A couple of weeks ago, a federal district judge in Texas awarded over $6 million in attorneys’ fees against the Sierra Club.  Sierra Club had survived motions to dismiss and for summary judgment, only to lose at trial. The court awarded fees on the ground that the suit was frivolous. The combination of rulings — denying summary judgment but then calling a lawsuit frivolous ...

After Four Years, Chesapeake Polluters’ Free Ride May be Coming to an End

by Anne Havemann | September 12, 2014
If you own a car, you’re used to paying a registration fee every two years. It may not be your favorite activity, but you do it. And you recognize that the fees and others like it help offset the cost of making sure vehicles on Maryland's roads are safe, that their polluting emissions are within acceptable limits, and that the people who drive them are licensed to do so. But, in a report issued last fall (and an op-ed in ...

NAM Study on the Cost of Regulations based on Opinion Polls: Statement of CPR Senior Analyst James Goodwin

by Erin Kesler | September 10, 2014
Today, the National Association of Manufacturers released a report produced by economic consultants Crain and Crain on the "cost of regulations to manufacturers and small businesses." CPR Senior Analyst James Goodwin responded to the study: Past Crain & Crain reports on the costs of regulation have been roundly and rightly criticized for unreliable research methods, including basing their studies on opinion polling. Not much has changed about their method in this latest iteration, unfortunately. They still pretend to project actual costs by relying on opinion surveys, and ...

Crain and Crain are Back, and This Time They're Working for the National Association of Manufacturers

by James Goodwin | September 09, 2014
Having thoroughly tarnished their own reputations as well as that of the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Office of Advocacy, economists W. Mark Crain and Nicole V. Crain are now preparing to make the big leap from thoroughly discredited academics to straight up shills for corporate lobbyists working to undermine public protections.  The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), an industry trade group that vehemently opposes such policies as cleaning up air pollution and improving worker safety, yesterday announced that it will ...

CPR's Robert Fischman Testifies for the House Committee on Natural Resources on the Endangered Species Act

by Erin Kesler | September 09, 2014
Today CPR Member Scholar and Indiana University School of Law professor Robert Fischman is testifying today for the House Committee on Natural Resources on potential amendments to the Endangered Species Act. According to the testimony: I. THE ENDANGERED SPECIES ACT SHOULD BE A LAST RESORT FOR CONSERVATION, NOT THE PRINCIPAL TOOL. Though Congress intended the ESA to conserve “the ecosystems upon which” imperiled species depend,1 the act almost exclusively focuses on preventing species from going extinct. By the time species are listed ...

The Rest of the Story Behind the Bay’s Enormous Dead Zone

by Anne Havemann | September 03, 2014
Monday’s Washington Post article on the massive oxygen-depleted areas in the Chesapeake Bay and Gulf of Mexico promised to uncover how “falter[ing]” “pollution curbs” were contributing to the dead zones. Instead, the article focused almost exclusively on the dead zones themselves, providing nothing on the vital, yet stalled, regulatory solutions. The article mentioned that fertilizer and manure washed from farms helped form the Chesapeake Bay dead zone, which was the eighth largest since record-keeping began. Yet it failed to mention ...

No, the GAO Didn’t Say EPA’s Cost-Benefit Analyses are Bad—But Here’s What We Should Take Away from Their Report

by James Goodwin | August 27, 2014
If you’re an antiregulatory, anti-environment member of Congress, such as Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) or Darrell Issa (R-CA), how do you get the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to issue a report that criticizes the cost-benefit analyses that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has performed on some of its recent rules?  That’s easy—you simply ask for one.  Then, when the GAO issues the report, like it did a few weeks back, you can begin issuing press releases filled with invective and ...

FDA Discretion and Animal Antibiotics

by Daniel Farber | August 20, 2014
FDA has stalled for 30 years in regulating antibiotics in animal feed. A court says that's O.K. The FDA seems to be convinced that current use of antibiotics in animal feed is a threat to human health. But the Second Circuit ruled recently in NRDC v. FDA that EPA has no duty to consider banning their use.  That may seem ridiculous, but actually it’s a very close case legally.  The court’s discussion of Massachusetts v. EPA as an administrative law precedent should be especially interesting to environmental ...

The Real Price of Chicken Nuggets: Obama Administration Turns Its Back on Poultry Processing Workers; Crippled (Literally) by a Thousand Cuts

by Rena Steinzor | August 07, 2014
Only in Washington, D.C. is nothing portrayed as something.  Out in the nation, not so much.  And so it was late last week that the Obama Administration took a victory lap for not making life even more miserable for some of the most abused workers in America. Yup, despite the best efforts of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), which is supposed to watch out for workers’ well-being, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the life-long booster for corporate ...

Richard Tol on Climate Policy: A Critical View of an Overview

by Frank Ackerman | August 05, 2014
Richard Tol’s 2013 article, “Targets for global climate policy: An overview,” has been taken by some as a definitive summary of what economics has to say about climate change.[1] It became a central building block of Chapter 10 of the recent  IPCC Working Group 2 report (Fifth Assessment Report, 2014), with some of its numbers appearing in the Working Group 2 Summary for Policymakers.[2] After extensive analysis of multiple results from a number of authors, Tol reaches strong and surprising ...

We Do Need a Weatherman to Tell Which Way the Wind Blows

by Joel Mintz | August 05, 2014
Over the past few years, as levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere have continued to rise, natural disasters in the United States and around the world have become ever-more frequent. In the U.S., in fact, extreme weather-related events, including severe droughts, floods, wildfires, windstorms and other disasters are now very often reported in the news media. The clear consensus among climate scientists is that—even though no single extreme event can be said to be directly caused by climate change—global ...

Tobacco Teachings, Up in Smoke?

by Lisa Heinzerling | August 04, 2014
Imagine a government warning on tobacco products that gave nearly equal prominence to both the pleasures and pains of using tobacco products. The "warning" would tell citizens that whether they should use tobacco products or not was – despite the government's long practice of recommending against such use – actually a pretty close case. Tobacco use is just so pleasurable, it turns out, that its risks – of bad health, of early death – might be worth it. Or imagine a ...

Statement of CPR President Rena Steinzor on the Finalization of USDA’s Poultry Inspection Rule that Harms Consumers and Workers

by Erin Kesler | July 31, 2014
In a press call today, USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that the poultry slaughter “modernization” rule is final and effective immediately.   CPR President Rena Steinzor reacted to the rule's finalization: The rule is a travesty from the perspective of every child who has chicken nuggets for lunch and every low-wage worker who stands in a fetid, overcrowded room cutting chicken carcasses thousands of times a day. The new inspection system will allow plants to operate their slaughtering and evisceration ...

CPR President Rena Steinzor in Roll Call: Congress Vs. GM: 'Why Not Jail' Squares Off Against K Street

by Erin Kesler | July 31, 2014
Today, Roll Call published a piece by CPR President Rena Steinzor in support of the "Hide no Harm" bill. According to the piece: The “Hide No Harm Act” includes a definition of the “responsible corporate officer” against whom such cases could be brought, clarifying an existing legal doctrine by saying higher-level executives have the “responsibility and authority, by reason of his or her position in the business entity  . . .  to acquire knowledge of any serious danger.” The key is that the person ...

Tweaks to Bad Chicken Processing Rule Leave Workers and Consumers in the Lurch; Rule Hurtles Out of the White House Door at Record Speed

by Rena Steinzor | July 30, 2014
We’ve received the bad news from impeccable sources that the much-criticized USDA poultry processing rule has passed White House review at record speed—20 days, count ‘em!—and will be released late this afternoon.  As usual, the process of OIRA review was shrouded in secrecy, with affected stakeholders filing in and out of the White House to talk about a rule they had never seen to taciturn OIRA officials who had long since cut a deal with USDA.  Of course, the late ...

Deconstructing Regulatory Science

Wagner | Jun 19, 2018 | Regulatory Policy

Agency U-Turns

Farber | Jun 18, 2018 | Regulatory Policy

The Center for Progressive Reform

455 Massachusetts Ave., NW, #150-513
Washington, DC 20001
info@progressivereform.org
202.747.0698

© Center for Progressive Reform, 2015